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democrats are calling for a roll back for tax benefits for wealthy americans, big corporations. republicans essentially saying, they can't support anything that looks like a tax hike. so we expect the president to come forward in his remarks today and resume his calls for a big deal. he's going to say now is the time to seize the moment and we're going to have to accept some political pain on both sides. that's something that we've heard him say before. political pain for the democrats would be coming to the table over entitlement reforms, in terms of social security, medicare, and, again, for the republicans, political pain might mean tax revenues. so that's what we expect him to say, chris. he's going to say that they're going to continue to talk until they get a deal done. as you know, there's that august 2nd deadline looming large. a lot of lawmakers want to see a deal within the next ten days so that that deal can be scored by the do and sold to both houses of congress. chris? >> thank you very much, kristin. let's go to new york and luke
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russert, coverage of capitol hill. luke, you're an expert right now on these interesting personalities. we all grew up, you and i and everybody in this business with theys that republicans are united and democrats are in disarray. it seems to me that there's a unity between the speaker of the house, john painer, and kevin mccarthy. is that the case? >> they would be the first to tell you, chris, that they're not going to spend thanksgiving with one another, john boehner and eric cantor. that being said, they've had a fairly effective working relationship over the past year and going back to the campaign to try to accomplish what it is they want to accomplish. but in this case, eric cantor two weeks ago who was put into negotiations by john boehner specifically so that if there were to be a tax increase, it would be eric cantor who had the plan in the house republican conference. eric cantor pulled out of those talks, saying that the issue of taxes was not going to be solved because democrats were insisting on a tax increase, effectively saying to john boehner, look, if
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you want to bring a tax increase on the house gop conference, you have to do that. so is there any doubt in anyone's mind on capitol hill, that eric cantor positioned himself to the right of john boehner? he absolutely does. he is in constant fear that cantor is going to fight boehner? not necessarily. but in the case specifically from what we've heard last may in the meeting that eric cantor spoke for the republican side, the majority of the negotiations and that the eric cantor preferred the $2.4 trillion in cuts smaller package coming out of the byron deal is going to be it reflect tess fact that john boehner will have a difficult time selling any grand bargain to his conference. specifically, he said to the president, you don't worry about your re-election, i won't worry about my re-election, let's see where we can go. saying increases taxes, if you will. it's difficult to say.
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essentially you'll see something coming in the new few days between boehner. how can you hide a revenue increase? how can you broaden the tax base? how can you cut some deductions, corporate loopholes, ways in which are not going to be apparent in which the house gop can get this by? >> in other words, not in a way that's going to violate the core principles of the republican party in 2011? >> correct. but in a smaller package, aside from immediate maybe n some medicaid going to the states, there's not a lot there. >> the pressure remains optimistic. you can have a $4 trillion plan over the next several years which includes changes in all these programs, include the tax code. we have andrea mitchell joining us now. also joining us, she's the host of andrea mitchell reports.
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we also have michael steele, the former chairm chair of the republican national committee andrea, it looks to me like they're not getting anywhere, to be blunt. >> well, it blew up saturday night when eric cantor clearly made it impossible for the speaker to do what he originally thought he could do, which was the big deal. the real problem, i think, is that they're discovering and they acknowledge privately is to do the small deal it's just as complicated politically as the big deal. if you're going to put any taxes on the table, it's just a portion of one to three, even for the small deal, you have to get the same number of house votes. and that is the problem that john boehner has with cantor and the tea party really holding -- >> michael, too, explain the orthodox of the republican party in 2011. is it that no matter how small the package, it cannot have any revenue hike at all in it.
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>> it is that pure, that simple for the significant number of members in the house caucus who ran on and won that principal argument in to 2010. there is a fundamental effort to reshape the government by suting spending, not going immediately to tax enhancers or revenue enhancers, but to get the spending under control first before any discussion about raising taxes. and that's the interesting thing for boehner. the question for him now is that these sacrifices speakerships to get this deal done. eric cantor is clearly waiting in the wings, has come to the table with a smaller deal. it's going to be a very interesting dynamic over the next couple of weeks, more so inside the gop caucus as this tension grows between doing something and standing firm on principle. >> it seems to me, david, on the liberal side, the progressive side, they don't have as much skin in the game yet. because in the early going, getting it through the house,
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for example, nancy pelosi and wvo)warea, the progressives out west, the progressives in the east coast and the big city, they could vote against this and still give the republicans enough votes to get it through the 218, right? they don't need a majority of democrats to support this. ÷yeyv(jx that the president was willing to give and yield on social security and medicare. no real details yet, so they didn't have much to react to. republicans are looking completely recalcitre when it comes to, tease and closing loopholes and corporate jets. the democrats in the house are saying, listen, why should we bend over and support cuts that support poor people while they're not doing anything for jet owners? but they also have a time more leeway here. they can vote against this and make it happen. >> so suddenly, the red hots on the republican side are not
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admitting that they're partners in the government. they're basically able to say they're back benches. >> and it's an interesting dynamic here. nancy pelosi, i believe, thinks and her supporters think that they could have a shot at regaining the house. she would again become speaker. 24 votes. if they kept pushing hard on this medicare issue that won them the buffalo seat. >> and how does this compromise that? >> so if they go along with the president's agreement to begin talking about it entitlements, medicare, social security, that gives up that argument. >> is it true that people like senator mcconnell, the senate republican leader, basically wants the monkey off their back of medicare. they want that issue gone. if the president throws that their way and says, here, senator, we'll give you defense against the charge you're screwing medicare if you'll go along with the deal, would that be tasty enough for him to go along with the deal? >> well, you know, again, that
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is the question. and, you know, senator mcconnell is in a very different world than speaker boehner. the senate is moving at a very different rhythm. the house right now is the center of this action in terms of what kind of deal is going to get done. i still think you're going to see a hybrid of the vice president biden commission kind of coming together on a smaller package. i agree with andrea that that is just as difficult, but at least with the tax revenue side, it's easier than the grand bargain. >> let me talk about the advantage of the grand bargain. if you want to convince world markets who are watching us right now, and andrea, you're on top of this, the world market, forget republicans, democrats, conservatives, tea party, all that stuff. think outside the box, outside this country. they're watching us. we're becoming a peripheral country like portugal, ireland or spain, a country that is tattering right now, right? >> because of political dysfunction, not so much because of economic dysfunction, but the
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inability to come to grips with it. even if it's in the out years. sure, you could take the argument that right now, with the latest unemployment reports, you don't want to start cutting deeply or raising taxes right now. but if you do it after 2012, if you do it in 2013, as our colleague, bob woodward was saying on our show, that is credible to the markets. it has enforcement. >> let me go. who on the hill -- i know it's a very tough question. i worked up there. it seems to be very hard to find big thinkers. is there someone on the hill who is not thinking pure partisan politics, who is thinking about the need to have a long-term debt reduction that will convince the world that the united states is still serious on fiscal matters? >> well, chris, as you know, the days of patrick moynahan and bob dole are long gone. but i would say if you want to look in terms of a seary proposal that would put political pain across all
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spectrums, probably the closest things you would have seen across the hill is the game of six talks. you have conservative folks, chambliss who had a conservative rate in the 90s accepting a tax increase. you had folks like dick durbin being open to significant cuts and entitlements in an attempt to eliminate the debt. there are still some serious figures on capitol hill. but look, as of right now on this issue, it's a lot easitory be in your political corner, the right wants no tax increases and the left wants absolutely no benefits to be touched in terms of entitlement. so allude on andrea's point a little bit, nancy pelosi sees medicare as the issue that will deliver her the house representatives once again. she needs the 24 seats. the bumper sticker there says vote democrats, save medicare. for the president to take that off the table, it caused a lot of consternation among democrats last week. that is the issue we can win on.
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do not sacrifice medicare. medicare, medicare, medicare. so this idea that well, the reason this grand idea is not going to happen, is because babbabe boehner won't move on taxes, there's some truth to that, but nancy pelosi would have a difficult time dealing with anything having to do with medicare. >> they say that in the majority. >> the question, of course, and the tricky question is for all of this to watch. i think the tea party people won't be part of any deal because they're purely against tax cuts, tax increases of any kind. and david corn, would the progressives be willing to see a deal? they're a little different than the tea party people, they're not quite pure. if they can consider the argument that destroy medicare and we stopped it, but we're willing to make some refinement, whereas the tea party seem to be -- >> i think there's an asymmetry.
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the tea party people are 80 votes, no, no, no, we're not want to go talk and we're not willing to look at details. if you award medicare in the package, they're just going to vote against it. but there are several that will look at the details. if you want the cuts, who they hit, there were -- >> they wouldn't be against a means test for wealthy people, would they? >> some are, some aren't because it gets to the whole fabric of the program. but i think overall, there are some -- they would be least willing to listen and if they got enough from the other side, that would help, as well. >> and i love the word asymmetry because i don't think this is entirely tit for tat. i think this is a new ideology on the right right now, and i'm being completely straight here, about people who have committed themselves almost to a religious belief. >> they're willing to blow things up. >> and that's the grover norquist no tax hike. the other piece of it that we haven't discussed is 2012. all of the republicans candidates siding against --
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look at what michele bachmann said, there is no competition of a debt ceiling raise. >> even if it has all the cuts she want and had no tax -- >> michael is trying to get -- on the issue about symmetry. you say it's symmetric. >> i think it is symmetric. i think a lot of folks want to be dismissive of the tea party and call them crack pots and -- >> not us. >> your words, sir. >> not here, but around the country and elsewhere in other -- >> i'm sorry. hold that thought. hold that thought. here is the president of the united states. >> debt negotiations, provide my perspective and then i'm going to take a few questions. as all of you know, i met with congressional leaders yesterday. we're going to be meeting again today and we're going to meet every single day until we get this thing resolved. the good news is that all the leaders continue to believe, rightly, that it is not
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acceptable for us not to raise the debt ceiling and to allow the u.s. government to default. we cannot threaten the united states full faith and credit for the first time in our history. we still center a lot of work to do, though, to get this problem solved. and so let me just make a couple of points. first of all, all of us agree that we should use this opportunity to do something meaningful on debt and deficits. and the reports that have been out there have been largely accurate that speaker boehner and myself had been in a series of conversations about doing the biggest deal possible. so that we could actually resolve our debt and our deficit challenge for a long stretch of time. and i want to say i appreciate speaker boehner's good faith efforts on that front.
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what i emphasized to the broader group of congressional leaders yesterday is now is the time to deal with these issues. if not now, when? i've been hearing from my republican friends for quite some time that it is a moral imperative for us to tackle our debt and deficits in a serious way. i've been hearing from them this is one thing that is creating uncertainty and holding back investment on the part of the business community. so what i've said to them is, let's go. and it is possible for us to construct a package that would be balanced, would share sacrifice, would involve both parties taking on their sacred cows, would involve some meaningful changes to medicare and social security and medicaid
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that would preserve the integrity of the program and keep our sacred trust with our seniors but make sure those programs were there for not just this generation, but for the next generation, that it is possible for us to bring in revenues in a way that does not impede our current recovery, but is fair and balanced. we have agreed to a series of spending cuts that will make the government leaner, meaner, more effective, more efficient and give taxpayers a greater bang for their buck. that includes defense spending, that includes health spending, it includes some programs that i like very much. and we -- it would be nice to have, but that we can't afford right now. and if you look at this over al in a situation were at a manageable level and our debt levels were stabilized. and the economy as a whole, i
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think, would benefit from that. moreover, i think it would give the american people enormous confidence that this town can actually do something once in a while. that we can defy the expectations that we're always think in terms of short-term politics in the next election and every once in a while, we break out of that and we do what's right for the country. so i continue to push congressional leaders for the largest possible deal. and there's going to be resistance. there is frankly resistance on my side to do anything on entitlements. there is a strong resistance on the republican side to do anything on revenues. but if each side takes a maximalist position, if each side wants 100% of what it id
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idealogical free dispositions are, then we can't get anything done. and i think the american people want to see something done. they feel a sense of urgency, both about the breakdown in our political process and also about the situation in our economy. so what i've said to the leaders is bring back to me some ideas that you think can get the necessary number of votes in the house and in the senate. i'm happy to consider all options, all alternatives that they're looking at. the things that i will not consider are a 30-day or a 60-day or a 90-day or a 180-day temporary stopgap resolution to this problem. this is the united states of america. and, you know, we don't manage our affairs in three-month increments. you know, we don't risk u.s.
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default on our obligations because we can't put politics aside. so i've been very clear to them. we're going to resolve this and resolver+ this for a2f]qirñjrñr reasonable period we're going to resolve it in a serious way. and my hope is that as a consequence of negotiations that take place today, tomorrow, the next day, and through next weekend, if necessary, that we're going to come one a plan that solves our short-term debt and deficit problems, avoids default, stabilizes the economy and proves to the american people that we can actually get things done in this country and in this town. with that, i'm going to take some questions, starting with ben phillips. >> thank you very much, mr. president. given that you're running out of time, can you explain what is your plan for where these talks
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go if republicans continue to oppose any tax increases and entitlements, as they said they will and secondly on your point about no short-term stopgap measures, if it game down to that and congress wants that, i know you're opposed to it. would you veto it? >> i will not sign a 30-day or 60-day or 90-day extension. that is not an acceptable approach. and if we think it's hard now, imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season when they're all up. it's not going to get easier. it's going to get harder. so we might as well do it now. pull off the band-aid. eat our peas. now is the time to do it. if not now, when? we keep on talking about this stuff and, you know, we have these high pronouncements about
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how we have to get control of the deficit and how we owe it to our children and our grandchildren. well, let's step up. let's do it. i'm prepared to do illustrate. i'm prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done. and i expect the other side should be willing to do the same thing if they mean what they say, that this is important. and let me just, ben, comment on this whole issue of tax increases. there's been a lot of information floating around there. i want to be crystal clear. nobody has talked about increasing taxes now, nobody has talked about increasing taxes next year. what we have talked about is that starting in 2013, that we have gotten rid of some of these
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egregious loopholes that are benefiting corporate jet oirns or oil companies at a time when they're making billions of dollars of profits. what we have said is as part of a broader package, we should have revenues and the best place to get those revenues are from folks like me who have been extraordinarily fortunate and that billionaires and millionaires can afford to pay a little bit more going back to the bush tax rates and what i've said to republicans is if you don't like that formulation, then i'm happy to work with you on tax reform that could potentially lower everybody's rates and broaden the base as long as that package was sufficiently progressive so that we weren't balancing the budget on the backs of middle class families and working class families and we weren't letting hedge fund managers or authors of best-selling books off the hook. that is a reasonable
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proposition. so when you hear folks saying, well, you know, the president shouldn't want, you know, massive job killing tax increases when the economy is this weak, nobody is looking to raise taxes right now. we're talking about potentially 2013 and the out years. in fact, the only proposition that is out there about raising taxes next year would be if we don't renew the payroll tax cut that we passed in december, and i'm in favor of renewing it for next year, as well. but there have been some republicans who said we may not renew it. and if we don't renew that, then the $1,000 that's been going to a typical american family this year as a consequence of the tax cuts that i worked with the republicans and passed in the december, that lapses. that could weaken the economy. so i have bent over backwards to work with the republicans to try to come up with a formulation
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that doesn't require them to vote sometime in the next month to increase taxes. what i've said is, let's identify a revenue package that makes sense, that is commensurate with the sacrifices we're asking other people to make and i'm happy to work with you to figure out how else we might do it. >> can you pass a deal if they don't budget on that? >> i do not see a path to a deal if they don't budget, period. i mean, if the basic proposition is it's my way or the highway, then we're probably not going to get something done because we've got divided government. we've got democrats controlling the senate. we probably have going to need democratic votes in the house for any package that could possibly pass. and so if, in fact, mitch mcconnell and john boehner are sincere, and i believe that they are that they don't want to see the u.s. government default,
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then they're going to have to compromise just like democrats are going to have to compromise, just like i have shown myself willing to compromise. >> thank you, mr. president. >> you said everybody in the room is willing to do what they have to do, wants to get something done by august 2nd. but this is a problem for people who aren't in the room and in particular potential presidential candidates and the american public. the latest cbs poll shows only 24% of americans say you should raise the debt limit to avoid a catastrophe. there are only 69% who oppose raising the debt limit. is there a problem that you have failed to show the american people that we have a crisis here. >> let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large.
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the public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of the treasury office. they shouldn't. they're worried about their families, their jobs, they have a lot other other things on their plate. we're paid to woesh about it. i think the american people, is it a good idea for the united states not to pay its bills and potentially create another recession that could potentially throw millions of more americans out of work, i feel pretty confident i could get a majority of votes on my side on that one. and that's a fact. if we don't raise the debt ceiling and we see a crisis of confidence in the markets and suddenly interest rates are going up significantly, and everybody is paying higher interest rates on their car loans, on their mortgages, on the credit cards and that is sucking up a whole bunch of additional money out of the
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pockets of american people, i promise you, they won't like that. now, i will say that from the professional politicians, for them to say that we shouldn't be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. they know better. and, you know, this is not something that, you know, i am making up. this is not something that tim geithner is making up. we're not out here trying to use this as a means of doing all these really tough political things. i'd rather be talking about stuff that, you know, everybody welcomes, like new programs or, you know, the nfl season getting resolved or, you know, unfortunately, this is what's on
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our plate. it's before us right now. and we've got to deal with it. so what you're right about, i think, is that the leaders in the room here at a certain point have to step up and doing the right thing, regardless of the voices in our respective parties that are trying to undermine that effort. you know, i have a stake in john boehner successfully persuading his caucus that this is the right thing to do, just like he has a stake in seeing me successfully persuading the democratic party that we should take on these problems that we've been talking about for too long, but haven't been doing anything about. >> do you think he'll come back to the $4 trillion deficit? >> i think speaker boehner has been very sincere about trying to do something big. i think he'd like to do something big. his politics within his caucus are very difficult, you're right. and this is part of the problem with a political process where
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folks are rewarded for saying irresponsible things to wench elections or obtain short-term political gain when we are in a position to try to do something hard. you know, we haven't always laid the groundwork for it. and i think that, you know, it's going to take some work on his side. but look, it's going to take some work on our side in order to get this thing done. the vast majority of democrats on capitol hill would prefer not to have to do anything. on entitlements. would prefer, frankly, not to have to do anything on some of these debt and deficit problems. and i'm sympathetic to their concerns. they're looking after folks who are hurting and vulnerable and there are a lot of folks out there and seniors who are dependent on some of these
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programs. what i'm trying to explain is, number one, if you look at the numbers, then medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program, no matter how much taxes go up. it's not an option for us to just sit by and do nothing. if you're a progressive who cares about the integrity of social security and medicare and medicaid and believes that it is part of what makes our country great that we look after our seniors and we look after the most vulnerable, then we have an obligation to make sure that we make those changes that are required to make it sustainable over the long-term. and if you're a progressive that cares about investments in head start and student loan programs and medical research and infrastructure, we're not going to be able to make progress on those areas if we haven't gotten our fiscal house in order.
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so, you know, did argument i'm making to my party is the values we care about, making sure that everybody in this country has a shot at the american dream and everybody is out there with the opportunity to succeed if they work hard and live a responsible life and the government has a role to play in providing some of that opportunity through things like student loans and making sure that our roads and highways and airports are functioning and making sure that we're investing in research and development for the high tech jobs of the future, if you care about those things, then you've got to be interested in figuring out how to be pay for that in a responsible way. and so, yeah, we're going to have a sales job. this is not pleasant. you know, it is hard to persuade people to do hard stuff. that entails trimming benefits and increasing revenues.
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you know, but the reason we've got a problem right now is people keep on avoiding hard things. and i think now is the time for us to go ahead and take it on. rich wall. >> thank you, mr. president. we keep talking about balance, shared sacrifice. the $4 trillion deal that you're talking about roughly seems to be now at about four to one spending the taxes. we're talking about $800 billion in taxes roughly. that doesn't seem very fair to some democrats. i'm wondering if you can clarify why we're at that level. also, if you could clarifier social security position, would any of the money from social security be looking at cpi going towards the deficit? >> with respect to social security, social security is not the source of our deficit problems. social security, it is part of a package, would be an issue of how do we make sure social
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security extends its life and is strengthened. so, you know, the reason to do social security is to strengthen social security and make thoos sure that those benefits are there for social securitys in the out years. and the reason they include that potentially in this package is if you're going to take a bunch of tough votes, you might as well do it now as as opposed to try to muster up the political will to get something done further down in the future. with respect to a balanced package, it is the package that we're talking about exactly what i would want? no. you know, i might want more revenues and fewer cuts to programs that benefit, you know, middle class families that are trying to send their kids to college or benefit, you know, all of us because we're investing more in medical research.
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so i make no claims that somehow the position that speaker boehner and i discussed reflects 100% of what i want. but that's the point. my point is that i'm willing to move in their direction in order to get something done. and that's what compromise entails. you know, we have a system of government in which everybody has to give a little bit. now, what i will say is that the revenue components that we discussed would be significant and would target folks who can most afford it. and if we don't do any revenue, because you may hear the argument that, you know, why not just go ahead and do all the cuts and we can debate the revenue issues in the election. you'll hear that from some republicans. the problem is is that if you
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don't do the revenues, then to get the same amount of savings, you've got to have more cuts. which means that it's seniors or it's poor kids or it's medical researchers or it's, you know, our infrastructure that suffers. and i do not want -- and i will not accept -- a deal in which i am asked to do nothing, in fact, i'm able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that i don't need while a parent out there who is struggling to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they have a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans. that's what the revenue debate is about. it's not because i want to raise
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revenues for the sake of raising revenues or i have some grand am ambition to create a bigger government. it's because if we're going to solve the problem, there are a finite number of ways to do it. if you don't have revenues, it means you are putting more of a burden on the people who can least afford it. and that is not fair. i think the american people agree with me on that. sam stein. >> thank you. with unemployment now at 9.2% and the large -- coming from the public sector, [ inaudible question ]. what do us to members of your own party who say -- the deficit -- [ inaudible ]. >> our biggest priority as an administration is getting the economy back on track and putting people back to work.
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now, you know, without relitigating the past, i am absolutely convinced and the vast majority of economists are convinced that the steps we took in the recovery act saved millions of people their jobs. or created a whole bunch of jobs. and part of the evidence of that is as you see what happens with the recovery act phasing out. you know, when i came into office and budgets were hemorrhaging at the state level, because of the recovery act was giving states help so they wouldn't have to lay off teachers, police officers and firefighters. as we've seen that federal support for states diminish, you've seen the biggest job losses in the public sector, teachers, police officers, firefighters losing their jobs. so my strong preference would be for us to figure out ways that
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we can continue to provide help across the board. but i'm operating within some political constraints here, because whatever i do has to go through the house of representatives. what that means, then, is that among the options that are available to us is, for example, the payroll tax cuts. which might not be exactly the kind of program that i would design in order to boost employment, but does make a difference because it puts money in the pockets of people who are then spending it at businesses, large and small, that gives them more customers, increases demand, and it gives businesses a greater incentive to hire. and that would be, for example, a component of this overall package. unemployment benefits, again, puts money in the pockets of folks who are out there, you know, knocking on doors trying to find a job every day giving
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them those resources. that puts more money into the economy and that potentially improvements the climate for businesses to want to hire. so, you know, as part of a component, i think it's important for us to look at what are the steps we can take short-term in order to put folks back to work. i am not somebody who believes that just because we solved the deficit and debt problems short-term, medium turm or long-term that that automatically solves the unemployment problem. i think we're going to have to do a bunch of stuff, including trade deals before congress right now to do tens of thousands of jobs. republicans gave me this list at the beginning of this year as a priority, something they thought they could do, now i'm ready to do it and so far we haven't gotten the kooimt kind of movement that i would have
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expected. we've got the potential to create an sprukt bank, that could put construction workers to work right now, rebuilding our bridges and our roads and our vital reconstruction all across the country. those are areas where i think we can make enormous progress. i do think that if the country as a whole sees washington act responsibly ks responsibly, compromises being made, the deficit and debt being dealt with for ten, 15, 20 years, that that would help with businesses feeling more confident about aggressively investing in this country, foreign investors saying america has its act together and are willing to invest. and so it can have a positive impact in overall growth and employment. it's not the only solution.
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we're still going to have to have a strong jobs agenda, but it is part of a solution. i might add, it is the primary solution that the republicans have offered when it comes to jobs. they keep on going out there and saying, you know, mr. president what are you doing about jobs? when you ask them, what would you do? we have to get government spending under control and we have to get our deficits under control, so i say, okay, let's go. where are they? i mean, this is what they claim would be the single biggest boost to business certainty and confidence. so what's the holdup? with respect to social security, as i indicated earlier, making changes to these programs is so difficult that this may be an
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opportunity for us to go ahead and do something smart that strengthens social security and gives not just this generation, but future generations the opportunity to say, this thing is going to be in there for the long haul. now, that may not be possible. and you're absolutely right that, as i said, social security is not the primary driver of our long-term deficits and debt. on the other hand, we want to make sure that social security is going to be there for the next generations and if there is a reasonable deal to be had on it, it is one that i'm willing to preserve. >> -- raising the retirement and -- >> i'm probably not going to get into the details, sam, right now of the negotiations. i might enjoy negotiating with you, but i don't know how much juice you've got in the republican caucus. that's what i figure. lesl
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leslie. >> thank you, mr. president. have you talked to economists that have agreed that a deal needs to be made. have you worked with election leaders at all who lobby congress to raise the debt ceiling? and if so will you -- >> i have spoken extensively to business leaders. and i'll be honest with you, i think that business leaders in the abstract want to see a resolution to this problem. what i've found is that they are somewhat hesitant to weigh in on some of these issues. even if they're willing to say something privately to me, pa partly because they have a whole bunch of business pending before congress and they don't want to make anybody mad. you know, so sth a problem of our politics and our politicians, but it's not exclusively a problem of our politics and our politicians. i mean, the business community is a lot like everybody else,
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which is we want to cut everybody else's stuff and we want to keep our stuff. we want to cut our taxes, but if you want to raise revenue with somebody else's taxes, that's okay. and that kind of mind-set is why we never get the problem solved. there have been business leadsers, like warren buffett who i think have spoken out forcefully on this issue. i think some of the folks who participated in the bull simpson commission made very clear that they would agree to a balanced approach, even if it meant for them individually, that they were seeing slightly higher taxes on their income, given that their -- i think the average ceo, if i'm not mistaken, is like 23% raise this past year while the average worker saw a zero to 1% rate raise last year.
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so i think there are a time of well meaning business people out there who recognize the need to make something happen. but i think they have been hesitant to be as straightforward as i'd like when it says this is what a balanced package means. that means that we've got some spending cuts. it means that we've got some increased revenue. and it means that we're taking on some of the drivers of our long-term debt and deficits. >> and when you say whether or not the administration -- >> i'm sorry? >> can you tell can you say whether or not the administration is looking at any contingency plan if something doesn't happen by august 2nd. >> we are going to get this done by august 2nd. >> mr. president, as a follow on, you said that the speaker faces tough politics in his caucus. do you have complete confidence that he can deliver the votes on anything that he agrees to?
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is he in control of this caucus? >> you know, that's a question for the speaker, not a question for me. my experience with john boehner has been good. i think he's a good man who wants to do right by the country. i think that it's a -- as chip alluded to, the politics that swept him into the speakership. we're good for a midterm election but tough for governing. and, you know, part of what the republican caucus generally needs to recognize is that american democracy works when people listen to each other, were willing to give each other the benefit of the doubt. we assume the patriotism, good intentions of the other side, and we're willing to make some sensible compromises to solve
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big problems. and i think that there are members of that caucus who haven't fully arrived at that relation yet. >> you're confidence wasn't shaking by him walking away from the big deal he said he wanted? >> you know, these things are a tough process. look, in fairness, a big deal would require a lot of work on the part of harry reid and nancy pelosi and myself to bring democrats along. but the point is, if everybody gets into the boat at the same time, it doesn't tip over. i think that was bob dole's famous comment after striking a deal with the president and mr. gingerich back in the 90s. and that is always the case when it comes to difficult but important tasks like this. last question, april ryan. >> mr. president, hi. i want to look at the issues of
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sacrifice. in 2009, you said that back to work -- [ inaudible ]. and now with the budget cuts looming, you have before -- as well as for new jobs fearful. and what say you about the shock of the debt free america act, do you support that or are you supporting the republican bill with similar modelled after -- [ inaudible ]. >> well, i'm not going to comment on a particular bill right now. let me speak to the broader point that you're asking about, april. this recession has been hard on everybody, but obviously, it's harder on folks who have got less. and the thing that i am obsessed
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with and have been since i came into office is all those families out there who are doing the right thing every single day, who are looking after their families, who are just struggling to keep up and just feel like they're falling behind no matter how hard they work, i got a letter this past week from a woman who her husband had lost his job, had, you know, pounded the pavement, finally found a job, they felt like things were stabilizing for a few months. six months later, he lost the second job. now they're back looking again and trying to figure out how they are going to make ends meet. this there are just hundreds of thousands of folks out there who
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really have seen as tough of economy as we've seen in our lifetimes. now, we took very aggressive steps when i first came into office to yank the economy out of a potential great depression and stabilize it. and we were largely successful in stabilizing it. but we stabilized it as a level where unemployment is still too high and the economy is not growing fast enough to make up for all the jobs that were lost before i took office in the few months after i took office. so, this unemployment rate has been really stubborn. there are a couple of ways that we can solve that. number one, is to make sure that the overall economy is growing. and so we have continued to take a series of steps to make sure that there's money in people's
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pockets that they can go out there and spend. that's what these payroll tax cuts were about. we've taken a number of steps to make sure that businesses are willing to invest. that's with is maul sbiz tax cuts. some of the tax breaks for companies that were willing to invest in plants and equipment and zero capital gains for small businesses that was about giving businesses more incentive to invest. we have worked to make sure that the training programs that are out there for folks that are having to shift for jobs that may not exist anymore so that they can get the training they need for the jobs that do exist that these are ill proved and sharpened. we have put forward a series of proposals to make sure that regulations that may be you been necessary and are hampering some businesses from investing that we are examining all those for those costs and benefits. if they are not providing the kind of benefits in terms of the
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public health and clean air and clean water and workers' safety that have been promised, then we should get rid of some of those regulations. we've been looking at the whole me new of steps that can be taken. we are now in a situation where because the economy's moved slower than we wanted, because of the deficits and debt that result from the recession and the crisis that taking an approach that costs trillions of dollars is not an option. we don't have that kind of money right now. what we can do is to solve this underlying debt and deficit problem for a long period of time so that then we can get back to having a conversation about all right, since we now
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have solved this problem, that's not no longer what's hampering economic growth that's not feeding business uncertainty. everybody feels that the ground is stable under our feet. are there some strategies that we could pursue that would really focus on some targeted job growth? infrastructure being a primary example. the infrastructure bank that we've proposed is relatively small. but could we imagine a project where we're rebuilding roads and bridges and ports and schools and broad band lines and smart grids and taking all the construction workers and putting them to work right now? i can imagine a very aggressive program like that that i think the american people would rally around and would be good for the economy not just next year or the year after but for the next 20 or 30 years. we can't even have that conversation if people feel as
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if we don't have our fiscal house in order. so the idea here is let's act now, let's get this problem off the table and then with some firm footing with a solid fiscal situation, we will then be in a position to make these kind of investments that i think are necessary to win the future. so this is not a right or left conservative, liberal situation. this is how do we operate in a smart way, understanding that we've got some short-term challenges and some long-term challenges if we can solve some of those long-term challenges that frees up some of our energies to be able to deal with some of these short-term ones as well. thank you very much, everybody. >> will we see you every day? >> well you see, that was an interesting tag as he left the room from one of the reporters?
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what was the headline coming out of that as you call it? >> reporter: i think the headline is the president is digging in his heels. he continues to say that he wants a big deal saying that he won't support anything that is a 60-day deal. 90-day deal. he wants something big here despite the fact that republicans say they won't support it. it's a call to action to republicans and democrats. democrats are going to have to come to the table he's saying in terms of revising entitlements and republicans have to deal with new tax revenues. he made the point that the tax revenues wouldn't kick in until 2013. the question is how long can the president continue to call for a big deal when republicans continue to insist that they won't go along with it. >> thank you kristen welker at the white house. let's go to luke russert covering capitol hill. >> chris that was full on triandlation barack obama.
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the most significant line is i'm willing to take on considerable heat from my party. look at things that my party has checked to get a deal done. republicans will not go down that road. they won't meet me halfway. really trying to occupy the center and contrasting his style with that of john boehner all the way saying john boehner is a good man who wants to do right by the country. almost painting the gop in an extremist look. also trying to paint this in terms of a deal of revenue saying look, guys like me don't need $100,000 worth of tax cuts when it's between that and a middle class person can send their kid to college. this is full on triangulation. >> smart. let's go to andrea mitchell. it looks like that has been his strategy for the last several days to put him up on mount alip
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pus. >> i am the reasonable one. the grown up in the room. also praise for john boehner. i don't know how much that helps john boehner with your caucus. saying eat your peas. >> explain that, people need to know that, why is it hurtful to say good things about your opposite number if you're the president now. >> boehner is being under mined by eric cantor the majority leader and by others in the caucus who are more rigged on this tax threat. boehner already is in trouble for being willing to compromise with the president. >> here's speaker boehner on laura ingraham's show this morning. >> the president is in re-election mode. and as a result that's where a lot of this rhetoric comes from. i've told the president, i've asked him, mr. president let's forget about the next election. you forget about yours and i'll forget about mine. let's get serious about doing the right thing for the country. >> michael steele, that wasn't
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exactly the kind words of a colleague in battle. he took a shot at the president there. >> he did. i think it goes to what andrea just said, the reality for boehner right now is he's got his own triagelation to do within his caucus. it's a very difficult deal to get done. i think the headline coming out of here for obama, the big deal is the big deal. i think he's going to hold his line on that. republicans have got to figure out what's their next move in the face of that. they've got a number of good options ahead of them. it's how they deal internally first before they go out publicly. >> we have an unusual situation where we have the republicans -- maybe not unusually historically, the very idealogical position, a strong position as michael just said, boehner's game here he has to position himself as a loyalist solid with his base with the right wing base. he can't be seen as somebody in the middle whereas the president wants to be seen as somebody in the middle as commander in
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chief. >> this is the symmetry we talked about earlier. the president says i'm willing to go up against my party. i'm willing to compromise. i have to give up things that i in my party may not like. will you john boehner make that same pledge. boehner so far is saying no. he can't because he has 80 or so tea party members that won't allow him to do that. if the president is triagelating. >> let's go to luke. if you look at the 240 votes that the speaker has potentially on his side, how many can he give up in a deal? can he sacrifice, 80, 60, where's the range of republicans that ke can give up and compensate with democrats. >> the magic number is 218 in. the last budget deal he lost about 54. he could give up between 60 and 80 depending on how much he would get from the house democratic cauc

MSNBC July 11, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.

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